Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ballerina Perks: Dressing Rooms

After a crazy, tough, busy week, I had a whole 24 hours to myself--a day off to sew pointe shoes, sauna, sleep, eat, catch up on my Grey's Anatomy, do nothing, exciting things like that. Last week, I spent more time at the theatre than at home, and so for me to be able to enjoy my own bed and my own apartment for a whole Sunday is wonderful. I did the math today: I got a total of 23 hours of sleep this weekend. This is awesome.

However, when we do have to spend loads of time at work, we're lucky because we have a lot of perks. Including our dressing rooms: one for two people, with couches, sinks, quiet, etc. People bring in pillows and pictures, candles and speakers, anything to make our "second home" feel more like the real thing. A peek into my dressing room, then--messiness and all...

My table, complete with my messiness, family photos, pointe shoes, fake hair, and (free! sponsored!) MAC makeup.

The sink. Not terrifically exciting. It does provide water. As a sink should.

The comfy chair, and window, and closet, etc.

The best part: the bed. I love the bed :-)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Under Pressure

Sometimes, life happens, and by "life" I mean "insane amounts of work," and when that happens, you might (a) suddenly have no time/energy/desire for a social existence and (b) learn a new part in roughly two hours, to be performed the next night. Section (b) includes two options: you can either freak out and be nauseous and worry about a bunch of "what ifs"--my preferred course up until about, oh, two years ago. Or you can call your mom, have a good dinner, have an even better dessert, watch your favorite hot-doctor show (I'm looking at you, Grey's Anatomy), watch the DVD of your new assignment a couple of times before attempting to sleep, not crap your pants, and try to remember something awesome, which is: what you do for a living is meant to be fun, highly enjoyable even, and not pimple/sweat/vomit-inducing. For my first, highly unexpected 'solo part' at Royal Danish Ballet, I am desperately attempting to achieve the latter. And so, with apologies to this woefully-neglected blog of mine, please enjoy the very dulcet tones of David Bowie and Queen. In the meantime, I will return to Dr. Alex Karev & Co., and subsequent obsessive viewings of Svanesøen, in the hopes that the combination of the two (plus some chocolate milk and cookies) will result in a good night's sleep and an unprecedented injection of confidence and shoulders-down-ness...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Feathers, Free Zones, & Funny Socks: September at Royal Danish Ballet

It's official: Summer is over. Not technically, of course; and there are still days here and there when the weather is beautiful and teases one into believing that summer could continue forever. But for the most part, the temperatures are starting to regularly demand sweaters. Galoshes are becoming increasingly necessary. And the carefree sense of having no schedule, and nothing but time? Well that's been gone for some time now, but after a marathon week of rehearsals at Operaen for Svanesøen, it's really totally without-a-doubt crystal clear--(1) we are all definitely back in shape; and (2) the season has begun, for real.

This back-to-school feeling doesn't mean no fun, of course. We are fatigued, to be sure; but while this may deepen the bags under our eyes it doesn't have to put a damper on general spirits. The shades of grey are slowly creeping back into the Copenhagen skies, but we savor the sun when it deigns to make an appearance. Our bodies are beat, but we still enjoy the days off--just perhaps not to "normal" 20-something-year-old extents. And even when the days at work seem to take approximately forever, people manage to keep spirits up. And so, a little photographic diary of September, Svanesøen, and the last of the sunshine.

The sun is still out, but signs of autumn are creeping into Copenhagen. This ballerina child doesn't mind so much: It's my favorite season, and I do enjoy any excuse to wear an oversized sweater.

Dinner of champions? Perhaps. At least we know the importance of greens.

On rare two-day weekends, it's wonderful to stumble upon something called "Free Zone" at Ofelia Beach: an event where everything (including the champagne, the umbrella, and the singing transvestite entertainment) was "gratis"!

The men of the Royal Danish Ballet are entertaining from all angles, and in all kinds of footwear.

Things that run my life at the moment: Pointe shoes. Sewing pointe shoes. The Board. The colors highlighter green and neon pink.

And finally, David Amzallag captured two of my Svanesøen personalities: white swan, black swan.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hindsight is 20/20

I am of the firm belief that "guilty pleasures" show who we really are. We file these secret addictions under the name "guilty" because they are, at their core, incredibly nerdy by normal social standards. They are dorky by definition; we confess guilty pleasures to friends with a laugh because on the surface, we're embarrassed to enjoy them, but deep down, we cannot exist on a daily basis without them.

As a confirmed geek, I have a plethora of guilty pleasures. I am hopelessly addicted to Grey's Anatomy. I regularly read The Princess Diaries and watch Gossip Girl. When I lived in a country that more easily offered such snackage, I used to watch Golden Girls while eating string cheese and Cheerios (simultaneously). I was once part of a fantasy baseball team. I have researched how much it would cost to be part of Virgin Airlines' trip to outer space (shocker: it's out of my budget). I subscribe to X Games highlights videos. I do crossword puzzles; when I knew absolutely no Danish, I used to make up clues and fill in English words based on the people-watching in which I would partake. I have a very big thing for Dr. Who (as played by David Tennant), and--in similarly British news--cannot wait for the day when Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's novel Good Omens is perfectly captured on film. I wear knee socks; I enjoy liking famous, incredibly-out-of-reach guys from afar (I'm looking at you, Gaels Monfils); I cry watching Pixar movies and Kleenex commercials; I like that I snort uncontrollably when I am really amused--thanks, Mom. But perhaps my biggest guilty pleasure lies hidden in my iPod.

When I was nine years old, I had a plan for my life: I would become a professional ballerina child; when I retired from said ballerina child career, I would become a sports medicine doctor; and I would, somewhere in the middle years of this process, marry one of the members of Hanson. I did become a ballerina child; my post-ballet dreams of multiple years of school/healing athletes has morphed into a curious shade of grey; and I am (incurably) single...BUT. While this last dream faded as I grew up and was drawn towards weirder, more wonderful music this does not mean that I do not forever and always hold a place in my heart for the magic that is Hanson's hit single, MmmBop. This song never, ever fails to bring me joy, of the nine-year-old, nostalgic sort. So please: enjoy. Particularly the moment of "disc scratching" around 3:06...not that I know every word and every second of this bit of magic.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday Lovin': Larry vs Harry & A Dose of Cycle Chic

Copenhagen is known for many things--beer, Vikings, Danish design, high prices on everything--but one of my favorite things about living here is the bike culture. And until you have seen it in person, until you've really experienced the scariness of being yelled at in Klingon by a more professional Danish biker, it's very difficult to understand how cool it is. Bikes are everywhere in this city; just 40% of Copenhageners own cars, and one in three ride to work. For me, my bike (a Dresco I have dubbed Detective Lenny Briscoe) is my main mode of transportation. I love my hunter green Detective, a bicycle my dad got for me within two days of moving here, a bicycle I chose specifically because it looked like everyone else's. I wanted to fit in. And don't get me wrong, I love Lenny Briscoe; but after my father's Copenhagen bike purchase and after living here for a little over a year now, I know that my next set of wheels (whenever that purchase might be necessary) will be more distinctive. I have several "dream bikes," and one of these is a model by a fantastic company called Larry vs Harry.

I first learned of LvH through my dad, who helped me make the big move across the pond. Sure, he came with me to help a very big transition in my life and to help me get settled in. But my dad brought with him to Copenhagen a personal agenda: for his 50th birthday gift, my mother agreed he could pick something for himself. That "something" was a cargo bike, specifically a Bullitt bike from LvH.

We found the shop on Frederiksborggade and were lucky enough to meet the super-cool co-founder of the company, Hans Fogh (and his awesome dog, Skipper). Hans lent my dad the Steve McQueen model to test out for the week he was here, to see if this wonderful bike was something he would want to export back to the homeland. Over that next week, I had to pry my dad away from the Bullitt. Both because (in his own words) his "butt was out of shape," but also because he wanted to ride everywhere. Seriously. We biked a 20k to IKEA one August day, emerging with only sheets and towels. (I will never let my father forget this day--I was not a happy ballerina child.)

Hans in front of the shop on Frederiksborggade, with a Bullitt bike of course.

So a week later, my dad was best friends with Hans as well as the proud owner of the last Steve McQueen Bullitt model made. The bikes are an updated version of the Danish "long john" bicycle, and the frames sport different kinds of heroes...people like Che Guevara, Burt Reynolds, Elvis, and of course Steve McQueen. LvH is too cool for school: everything rocks, from the Bullitt bikes themselves, to their website and blog, to their slogans ("A pimp is only as good as his product"; "You will not be able to stay home, brother!”). Perhaps my favorite thing about Hans specifically is this series of videos he made for the Larry vs Harry website. Anyone who dresses up as Elvis and shows people the coolest cargo bike ever is pretty awesome in my book.

My father with his new best friend, Steve McQueen.

There was a very sad day towards the end of my dad's visit here. This was the day he had to return Steve McQueen, so Hans could ship the bike to America for "min far." It was a sad day for me, too, because I decided to skip the trip to LvH in favor of an afternoon nap. I should have fought the human urge to sleep, because when he went to the shop, my father not only saw Hans but he also met one of Hans' good friends, a man named Mikael. That's not the "sad-for-me" part; there are loads of guys in Copenhagen named Mikael. Here is the "sad-for-me" bit: This Mikael was the one and only creator of one of my absolute favorite blogs, Copenhagen Cycle Chic. I had discovered Mikael's site--a site where he posts, quite simply and fabulously, candid pictures of stylish Copenhagen cyclists--a couple of weeks before moving to Denmark (again, via my father), and had come to this country with the dream of making it onto the blog, of being considered a chic cyclist. (It hasn't happened yet, but I still try to look somewhat put-together whenever I take Lenny Briscoe out for a never know...) Plus, I knew from perusing the website that Mikael owns my ultimate fantasy bicycle: a Velorbis. So this one day, my father met and befriended Mikael while I took a snooze and missed an opportunity to meet a local celebrity. I still regret that nap. I'm not even joking.

Mikael on his Bullitt.

In short: Copenhagen's bike culture is unique, wonderful, and eco-friendly. And the Bullitt bikes and websites like Mikael's make it that much cooler. Hans and Mikael "dig it," and you should, too.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Erasers are good for mistakes

When I have a rough day--like today, which involved a bloody lip, a flat tire, a legitimate cry, and other not-so-wonderful things--I always turn to The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, for comfort. There is something beautiful and honest about the simple story and its small hero that make me feel the same way an old sweater does, or a bear hug does, or crying in the shower does...

"You are not at all like my rose," he said. "As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made a friend, and now he is unique in all the world."

And the roses were very much embarrassed.

"You are beautiful, but you are empty," he went on. "One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you --the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is MY rose."

And he went back to meet the fox.

"Goodbye" he said.

"Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important."

"It is the time I have wasted for my rose-- "said the little prince so he would be sure to remember.

"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose. . ."

"I am responsible for my rose," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.